Friday, February 26, 2010

The ACS national conference is coming up. The theme is sustainability. The keynote speech is Green Chemistry: Chemical Solutions for a Sustainable World. The whole "green" thing reminded me of a post I wrote almost 2 years ago. Since I'm semi-retired from blogging, I thought I'd do a little reposting to fill up the space.

Here is my opinion of "going green" from a May 2008 post.


I think of a lot of things. Recently, when the trees were finally forming leaves[1], I was thinking about chlorophyll. The area is finally turning green and the amount of chlorophyll being produced by trees is no doubt in the "ton" range.[2]

I got to thinking about the visible spectrum of chlorophyll a and b. Here is a picture from Wikipedia:
Do you notice anything? Look at the spectrum again and think about it for a second.

Let me ask you this: Why do leaves (most of them) look green?

Yup, because they don't absorb the green wavelengths of light. They don't absorb anything in the 500-550 nm range. In other words, green plants reject the color green!!!!

Allow me to personify. Plants hate green and they will have nothing to do with it. That is why they do not absorb green wavelengths of light. Plants DO like blue and red light. They absorb those wavelengths with glee. Plants hate green and love blue and red.

If you care about plants (and I hope you do because your survival depends on them) you should have the courtesy to reject what plants reject: GREEN.

I'm in favor of plants so I will not "Go Green" for anything. I will "Go Red and Blue". That's what plants like, and I like plants.

[1] We're still waiting for solid Spring weather.
[2] That would be an interesting calculation to figure out what mass of chlorophyll (all types) are stored in one tree.


MJenks said...

These guys are not amused.

Since clean water typically reflects blue, and because clean water is a symbol of a healthy environment, I've always thought we should have a blue revolution instead of green.

OrganicOverdose said...

hahahahaha, classic look at the whole perspective of it all. I totally agree, damn those greenies. Also, does this mean redheads are the key to saving the planet? Here in Australia (though not so much anymore) we call them "Blue" and sometimes "Red". ergo, clearly the progeny of Captain Planet

BotanyDave said...

Just stumbled upon your post 5 years after the fact.

I think you didn't extend the x-axis to the left far enough. There, you would have seen no Infrared absorbance at all. (Water, on the other hand, absorbs IR totally after only a few inches) Living vegetation totally reflects IR: if we could see the IR, plants wold be that color. ...Interestingly, we have designed satellite systems that can record the IR...

Were you to overlap your leaf absorbance spectrum graph with a graph of wavelengths that are not blocked by the earth's atmosphere, you'd see an interesting correlation (due to an evolved causation): Blue and Red are high energy wavelengths that make it to the planet's surface, and being photosynthetic- plants happily absorb them. If plants tried to absorb IR (even higher energy), they'd probably combust.